The following is text from the governor’s Aug. 20, 2011, radio address. To listen, click the MP3 link below.

“As summer nears an end many Mainers are worried about how they are going to make it through winter.

Last season, 63-thousand Mainers needed financial help to put oil in their tanks to keep warm.

Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

The Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP helps keep Maine’s most vulnerable families warm during our rugged winters.

Last year, Maine received $54 million in LIHEAP funding.

This season, the money may be slashed to $30 million and these looming cuts proposed by President Obama will have a devastating impact on our state.

I have called upon our Congressional Delegation and New England Governors for their support.

We must fight for this funding for three reasons.

First, Maine’s population remains the oldest in the nation. This is further compounded by our state tax system – many successful Mainers, when they reach retirement age, flee to states with low or no income or estate tax.

My administration is working hard to ensure in the future Mainers will be able to keep what they have earned while continuing to make Maine their home. However, until we can implement these fundamental changes and encourage those with means to stay in the state, our elderly population is and will remain a resource-poor population.

Second, even in boom times Maine’s wages lag the national average.  In this anemic economy, the strain on the budgets of working Maine people is nearly breaking their backs.

The resources of our non-profits and the generosity of our citizens are also stretched thin and we cannot ask for more from them.  Leadership is necessary to ensure that Maine citizens can make it through the winter.

Third, oil prices for this heating season continue to rise. Some contracts are being locked in at $4.25 per gallon and 80 percent of Maine homes are heated with oil. When this is coupled with the first two realities, it would seem the only possible course of action for needy Mainers is to hope for a mild winter. Unfortunately, ‘hope’ is not a responsible plan.

I am asking our Maine U.S. Senators and Representatives to include a review of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as part of Congress’s deliberations on the LIHEAP cuts.

Tapping the reserve might help decrease pressure on supplies and bring the price of heating oil back to Earth.  I know that the federal government’s past ways of doing business are at an end. That only increases the need for creative thinking and for all options to be put on the table.

It is my job as governor to lead through these difficult times and request the federal government assess all possibilities.

Maine people can afford, and deserve, no less.

I thank you for listening to my perspective. Be safe, and enjoy your weekend.”